#speculation #mustard #oil
Empty shelves, posters inviting people not to drink more than two cans of mustard, skyrocketing prices for certain products: these episodes fuel the fear of speculation. On social media, a viral post accuses “stores of large retail chains” such as Auchan or Leclerc of holding stocks of mustard, sunflower oil or pasta. Deliveries would be delayed “to raise prices and make people believe in scarcity” due to the war in Ukraine, criticizes one user, in a tweet shared more than 2,200 times.
Another viral post questions the government “that is blocking everything to create a false shortage”, evoking, without citing, “testimonies of employees in warehouses in France”.
The questioning of the big retail chains is “absurd”, judges Lionel Maugain, head of the magazine’s money section. 60 million consumers. “We can’t talk speculation,” she says. The only current speculation is in the wheat market, with historical price levels and, at the same time, an availability of wheat for production that makes these price levels unjustified. In mid-May, when India banned exports, wheat reached a record price of €438.25 a tonne on the Euronext market.
“A lot can be said about distributors, continues the journalist, but they compete fiercely. He points out, on the contrary, that they do not retain the merchandise and do everything to obtain oils, for example. Information confirmed by Auchan. “Absolutely no overstock,” the brand replies. As soon as we have the products, they are placed in stores to be sold to customers. »
Just-in-time inventory management
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the retail brand has started just-in-time management of its stock, which has sometimes resulted in empty shelves. Raw material suppliers have set supply quotas by region “in response to the current situation,” Auchan specifies. It is about regulating the amount of products that these suppliers can deliver, “because they themselves experience difficulties in the supply of raw materials.”
The E.Leclerc group specifies that the replacement of mustard shelves may be affected by lower harvests. On the other hand, for rapeseed or sunflower oils, the company indicates that it does not see “risk of shortage”.
excessive consumption of products
Through the inflation observatory, created in February by 60 million consumers and the NielsenIQ Institute, the magazine has also noted an overstock phenomenon. “Since the beginning of the war, there have been 30% more oil sales than normal,” says Lionel Maugain. As soon as the shelves are filled, people rush. »
Auchan has also noted this excessive consumption of products, in particular pasta, flour, sunflower oil. For example, from March 14 to 20, just under three weeks after the start of the war, the brand noted a 53% increase in purchases of sunflower oil compared to 2021. For its part, E.Leclerc “invites its customers not to change”. their consumption habits so as not to artificially create a shortage of these products”.
Finally, the photo that illustrates one of the viral tweets is that of a fruit and vegetable warehouse in Argentina, visible on the website of Mecalux, a storage solutions company. It can be found by doing a reverse image search with Google Lens. Nothing to do with a warehouse in France therefore.